Sound — 8
As far as influential figures who have completely reshaped the way we listen and play music, before there was Eddie Van Halen, before there was Tony Iommi, before there was Jimmy Page, there was Buddy Guy. American blues guitarist and vocalist Buddy Guy is one of the most influential music artists to have ever stepped out on the scene. His signature style of rampaging Chicago blues paved the way for a long line of artists to follow him. Buddy is even listed as a pioneer to the genre, and his unique approach to the guitar, such as playing guitar solos using drumsticks, redefined not only the rock and roll genre but guitar playing as a whole.
His song "Stone Crazy" was cited as one of the greatest guitar songs of all time by Rolling Stone, Buddy Guy's playing style has been named a significant inspiration by such now infamous musicians as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page: and by indirect means, the long line of guitarists who have followed them. At age 77, Buddy Guy continues to create new music, and his new studio album shows him partnering up with a solid list of musicians spanning all across the rock and roll genre.
"Rhythm & Blues" shows Buddy continuing to deliver the same powerful guitar licks and emotional vocal performances that comprised his earlier works throughout a two-disc collection of new compositions. Songs such as "Best in Town" are filled with classic sounding guitar work, that when backed by full brass accompaniment and organ playing provide an unignorable '60s blues rock nostalgia sound. Others, for example "Evil Twin," show Buddy slowing the pace down to a comfortable lounge jam, while backed by Brad Whitford, Joe Perry and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame.
Kid Rock, Keith Urban, and Beth Hart (amongst others) make guest appearances throughout the rest of the album. No matter where you set the needle on this latest outing from Buddy Guy, you're bound to get caught in the overwhelming tides of blues guitar licks that are generously showcased throughout each track on the new album. The end result sounds so good, it wouldn't be fair to nitpick these songs.
Lyrics — 9
Despite being in his late '70s, Buddy Guy still delivers a passionate vocal performance throughout "Rhythm & Blues." Generally, you would think that at that age his vocals would be a noticeable weak factor that drags the holds the rest of the album back. Time unfortunately takes it's toll on all of us, and for a singer this generally means a weaker overall sound and narrowed vocal range. But with this case it's quite the opposite; Buddy's ageless performance is what brings the album over the top, and when backed by the same classic elements that comprised his earlier outings you're left with a collection of songs that doesn't sound like they're coming from someone his age.
Overall Impression — 9
Buddy Guy gives yet another timeless performance with his new studio album, "Rhythm & Blues." The title could not be any more explanatory; this album is comprised entirely of strengthy guitar-driven blues rock that once again proves why Buddy is considered to be the guitar legend he is. On top of a collection of new tracks, Buddy also teams up with a powerhouse group of famous rock musicians, and it's these collaborations that drives this album well beyond my preset expectations. "Rhythm & Blues" is an album that comes highly recommended to any aspiring or established guitarist, as well as any blues enthusiast.